An Inquiry: I am twenty years old and cannot stand being alone in the dark. My mind and heart race… when I’m by myself and in the dark. …I’m terrified of ghosts, intruders, etc. I know, totally unreasonable… but my fear is very real. …WHY this is happening …how I can overcome this?
How We Would Respond: If in asking why this is happening you’re inquiring about the origins of your fear about darkness, we certainly cannot say knowing nothing about your life history; perhaps you have some insight about where and how your fear originated, perhaps you don’t.
Does it actually matter where your fear originated? No, not particularly because past experiences do not cause present emotional experiences. So considering past experiences, as past experiences are not causative, will not lead to a solution to present emotional distress.
So what does cause present emotional distress? Thinking.
In your particular case fearful thoughts are coming into your awareness and you are accepting these thoughts as something significant even though, on some level, you consider these thoughts unrealistic. So while you label the thoughts unrealistic, they are still troubling to you.
Your outlook is something along the lines of ‘I shouldn’t be having thoughts like this!’
Thoughts, in and of themselves, are totally impotent. Our beliefs are strong in the sense that they can cause an emotional reaction within us. A thought then that is combined with our belief causes a reaction; a thought that lacks our belief does nothing at all.
The belief is what carries all of the power — the belief provides all of the impact.
If you withdraw belief from the thought the thought no longer has any charge; the thought has no impact, causes no effect.
Can you observe thoughts coming into your awareness without providing these thoughts the power of your belief? If you can do this then the thoughts, no matter what their message may be, will not impact you.